The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows nationals from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation or bilateral agreements with the U.S., to enter the U.S. for the purpose of directing and developing the operations of an enterprise they have invested in, or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. The benefits of the E-2 visa include the ability to stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited two year extensions as long as the individual maintain valid E-2 status and the U.S. enterprise remains viable and active. The individual may be accompanied by a spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, and spouses may apply for work authorization to be legally employed in the U.S.
To qualify for E-2 classification as the principal investor, the treaty investor must:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
- Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate arrangement.
To qualify for E-2 classification as an employee, the employee of a treaty investor must:
- Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
- Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law
- Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory nature, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
- If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it may be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must also be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty investor status.